Ever since American President Donald Trump came to power, he and North Korean president Kim Jong Un have engaged in verbal battles that have probably spiced up dining table conversations around the world.

No one believed that North Korea would risk nuclear retaliation by actually attacking US land or its allies.

Donald Trump Is Threatening North Korea
Donald Trump Is Threatening North Korea

But all eyes are on the conflict since Kim Jong Un decided to send a mid-range missile over Japan and released a dramatic video of the launch. This intercontinental missile has the power to reach the US mainland. Kim Jong Un has tested over eighty missiles since he came to power, and the US estimates that he has 60 nuclear weapons in its arsenal today.

How likely is the situation between US and North Korea and its neighbors to lead to war?

The US-North Korea Situation

Right after DPRK’s (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) show of force in August, President Trump stepped up his rhetoric and said talking wasn’t the answer to the North Korean problem. North Korea threatened the US territory of Guam and promised more missile tests to come.

The UN security council has maintained that it wants peaceful resolution, and ex-president Jimmy Carter has even offered to go to North Korea on behalf of the present administration to try and diffuse the situation.

North Korea Vs Trump
North Korea Vs Trump

But Donald Trump has threatened to ‘totally destroy’ North Korea and come to the conclusion that his Secretary of State’s diplomatic outreaches are a waste of time. British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who is probably up to his elbows in Brexit, has stopped to say that the Iran deal is proof diplomacy can work, though President Trump continues to take a hardline.

So far, it has been a battle of rhetoric between the two countries since the missile test. But recently, the Japanese defense minister has claimed that the threat from North Korea is ‘critical and imminent’. North Korea’s repeated missile tests has led some experts to believe that it is possible that these missiles could reach the US mainland. He hasn’t called for military action, but has asked for international pressure on North Korea to give up its nuclear program.

The question is, what are the realistic chances of either the US or North Korea waging war?

How Likely Is War with North Korea?

Speak to North Korean defectors in South Korea, and many of them are of the view that Kim Jong Un is all tough talk, but he won’t be starting a losing war. Most diplomats believe that he is trying to use his nuclear program as a bargaining chip, and war would not be in his best interests.

North Korea Ready For War
North Korea Ready For War

The dictator has been threatening, to summarize his latest words, to complete North Korea’s nuclear force for a long time but his talk has become tougher since the Trump administration’s hardline stance against North Korea. The North Korean president says that his complete nuclear army is nearly there, ready to balance real force against the US and prevent an attack.

But Japan is nervous. The US is also preparing for potential military action by running drills on the South Korean peninsula. Most recently, South Korea and US participated in an exercise involving helicopters, fighter jets and naval ships. Kim Jong Un isn’t happy about these drills and has responded with a promise of an ‘unimaginable strike’. Media around the world is reporting a potential Word War 3.

Experts say chances of war are between 10 percent and 25 percent. But while Pyongyang is likely to refrain from nuclear attacks on the US and its allies, it is possible that an aggressive military invasion from Trump could drive Kim Jong Un to use a missile as a last resort.

Another possible scenario for nuclear war is if there is an (unlikely) domestic uprising that threatens Kim Jong Un and forces his hand. Wherever there are nuclear weapons, there is always a chance of accidental detonation.